Measure Your Progress: You Today Vs You Tomorrow
How do you know that your efforts are paying off? And why it is necessary to measure your progress from time to time?
So, you have been so hard at it; you’ve read all the books, taken all the courses, and listened to all sorts of advice from so many directions. You probably feel that you have been contributing effort towards your personal development. Well, it is very easy to assume that we are making progress just by doing the right things. There is only one way to measure your progress – through your results!
It won’t matter how many self-help books you’ve read, or who has inspired you, not even how well you’ve understood them. As long as the principles learned, and the lessons captured stay within you without being tested, we shall never know. For you to measure your progress, you must test these ideas in your life and see the results they give you. If for example you have read all the tips there is to lose weight, the only way you can know for sure is by putting them to test and see the result they give. You have to be spontaneous when trying to measure your progress, else you lose time doing the wrong thing.
I’m for example an ardent believer in self-development. I have consumed lots of literature on this subject matter; and most importantly what I have learnt is that, it all points to contributing incremental efforts. It is a principle I try to apply to all aspects of my life; better health, wealth, spirituality, quality of friendships, love, and any activity that forms a part of my life. But how do you measure your progress considering all these? The answer is simple – implement personal development goals for each part, and check the results!
Over six months ago, I for example decided to start a forced saving scheme in order to boost my financial discipline. Based on this scheme, my piggy bank should be running out of space towards the last quarter of this year (I hope). This is for me one way of measuring my progress as far as financial discipline is concerned, and probably an effort to grow my wealth.
Our lives extend beyond financial discipline. We have to be mindful of our health, our environment, and every aspect of our lives. I like to categorize all this as ‘Resilience Beyond’. It literally means improving all areas of one’s life by making small incremental efforts. In order to measure your progress, you have to test your resilience. If you have been making efforts to gain or lose weight by eating right, then you have to stand on that scale and check how far you’ve come. By making such practices, it literally means that your life should generally have a positive improvement trend over time. You would have to adopt a ‘do – check – repeat’ approach.
In doing all this, there is always that psychological comfort of thinking that you have made progress, and yet in most cases there is no physical evidence to support any such progress. This is so true especially in the area of personal development. Actions must be taken to equalize, or realize our mental growth. Feeding on information may make you feel knowledgeable, but until you have to use that info in order to avert some of your personal or community challenges, it remains useless! So, go out and measure your personal resilience. Even if you don’t have direct challenges yet, create dummy scenarios and see how you would leap over them.
In 2011, Japan witnessed one of Mother Nature’s biggest destructive forces. The ground shook, and caused an attack from several fronts: tsunamis, fires and nuclear disaster. In the face of these disasters, the resilience of the Japanese people in the affected areas was greatly tested. The most outstanding and successful display of resilience is what was termed as the ‘Kamaishi Miracle’. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Kamaishi, all the 3,000 elementary and junior high school students were able to escape to safety. But how was this possible? In the past, several tsunamis had occurred and killed so many people in Kamaishi. What followed over the years was to continuously simulate disaster situations and practice real evacuation drills for the residents of Kamaishi (such disaster drills are by the way a common part of the Japanese people). They help to prepare one’s mind of what to do in case a real disaster hit. This is what was engrained in the minds of these elementary and junior high school students of Kamaishi – in case of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami; save yourself first, by seeking high grounds which were already known to every member of the community. For Kamaishi, 2011 was a real test of their resilience. They were able to measure their progress over the years, and now they know that it works.
Of course everyone may have their own disasters they are trying to fight, but the recommended approach to measure your progress is through testing yourself. If you are for example a student preparing for an exam, then try and see how you would perform on the past exams. Whatever it is you are trying to do, it has to come out of your head and get tested in reality, that’s the only way you can know whether it works, or even how to make it work better. Be it a business idea, a life challenge, or getting around anything.
As a science student, I for sure know that it’s mainly through testing our theories that we can for know whether they work or not, unless you are a pseudoscientist!
If you want to know the reach of the stones you throw, you must measure the distance reached by every stone at every throw.